Social housing waiting list down by 42% - Galdes

1900 people still awaiting social housing, Minister says, with 238 new applications in 2020

Minister for Social Accomodation Roderick Galdes
Minister for Social Accomodation Roderick Galdes

Minister for Social Accommodation Roderick Galdes has announced that the number of persons on the social housing waiting list has decreased by a significant amount since 2017.

In 2017 there were 3,288 people on the waiting list, but today the number has decreased by more than 42% to 1,900 people, he said.

This progress was registered before the commencement of the allocation of new social accommodation units.

“The holistic housing system we created is bearing fruit and achieving progress”, claimed Galdes, who also explained that the wide range of services provided by the Housing Authority was helping people move forward.

Galdes said that prevention was the most influential factor behind the decrease in the number of people on this waiting list. In comparison to the 580 new applications received in the year 2017, there were only 238 new applications in 2020.

The minister added that this meant that the government had provided sufficiently effective services which have prevented families from becoming dependent on the state.

“Among the initiatives taken there is the strengthening of the rent benefit, which is improving the situation of 2,900 families living in rented accommodation by ensuring that they do not pay more than a quarter of their income on rent, while there are over 800 homes which have been repaired and more than 500 other homes which have been adapted to be more accessible to those facing mobility challenges as well as persons with disabilities.”

Approximately 160 families which were eligible for social accommodation have now become homeowners as a result of social loans, also known as the ‘Home Assist’ scheme, said the ministry in a statement on Saturday.

By the end of June, approximately 571 social housing units will be allocated from the existing stock, while another 240 solutions have been found through properties that the Housing Authority rents from private owners.

The regeneration of vacant houses has been made a priority so that dozens of adequate housing solutions can be created in the heart of villages.

Housing Authority CEO Leonid McKay gave a picture of the wide range of services available which he said were meeting specific needs. He mentioned a study conducted among the applicants aimed at having a detailed understanding of their challenges and aspirations. This study was instrumental in designing specialised solutions that in his words not only provided support but also enhanced social mobility.

McKay also said that enforcement against the abuse of social housing has been strengthened and has led to several houses being recovered. In addition to enforcement, there is constant monitoring of both applicants and beneficiaries to ensure compliance.

Galdes said that he was determined to see the number of people asking for help continue to decline. “Through a series of initiatives, we created a housing system which is achieving progress by offering a vast selection of adequate accommodation solutions for all”, said the minister.